12 sports nutritional tips for the perfect triathlete diet
Follow this nutritional advice from Kevin Currell, head of performance nutrition at the English Institute of Sport and former British Triathlon’s lead nutritionist, working with the Brownlees, for a fitter, happier, enhanced performance.
1 PROTEIN POWER
Always work back from protein as it repairs muscle and allows you to adapt and recover from training. It’s also satiating. Aim for around 0.3g/kg of protein. For a 70kg athlete, that’s around 20g, which is what you’ll find in a pint of milk.
2 TRIO OF GOODNESS
Split your plate into three: protein, veg and carbs. Fruit and veg deliver vitamins and minerals; carbs give you energy. Go for quality, unprocessed carbs like sweet potatoes. Or jumbo rolled oats instead of fine processed porridge.
3 GOOD FATS
Good fats improve signalling in the body and make up cell walls, so add nuts and seeds to your porridge, as well as having oily fish, like salmon or mackerel, a couple of times a week. You could also split an avocado in half, take out the big stone and bake an egg in the middle of it for 10mins. It’s tasty and nutritious.
4 AS NATURE INTENDED
When it comes to fruit, I always say the closest to the tree, the more nutrients are going to be in it. So ideally shop local.
5 BLITZ IT
Something like a Nutribullet or similar blender is a great way to get a concentrated hit of fruit and veg. Have a smoothie alongside breakfast and use them to make a great recovery shake. Simply add milk, a banana and berries and you have a perfect recovery shake.
6 BEET IT
Eat beetroot or add it to your smoothie. Research shows that there’s a positive performance effect for recreational athletes.
7 PERIODISE NUTRITION
You might be doing a long ride on the weekend, which is pretty steady. Maybe have an omelette before you ride and an electrolyte during to enhance fat metabolism. But when you’re doing your night track session, you need carbs. They’re king for intensity.
8 FREQUENT NOT LARGE
It’s preferable to have smaller, more frequent meals if you’re heavy training. When you have regular meals, the size of those meals often equates to smaller than having one large meal in the evening.
9 GOODBYE PROCESSED
If you’re living off wafer-thin processed ham, don’t. Visit your local butchers and buy quality meat. It’s better for your and your performance.
10 D SUPPLEMENT
Vitamin-D is essential for calcium absorption and is linked with bone health. There’s also evidence that vitamin-D’s important for a strong immune system and muscle function. Predominantly you get vitamin-D from the sun so a supplement during the winter is good.
11 CONVENIENT RECOVERY
After a track session, it’s easier to have a recovery shake than a tuna sandwich, but both will do the same thing in terms of recovery.
12 NUTRIENT MAINTENANCE
More nutrients remain in vegetables if you steam or stir-fry. That said, if you boil and use the water to make gravy, you’ll still receive a nutrient hit.